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Scientific Writing, HRP 214

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Title: Science Writing 2 Author: Kristin Cobb Last modified by: Kristin Created Date: 5/17/1996 12:08:30 PM Document presentation format: Letter Paper (8.5x11 in) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Scientific Writing, HRP 214


1
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Recap from last time (quick quiz)

2
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • "Data doesn't lie, but in raw form, it often
    doesn't speak clearly, either."
  • "Data don't lie, but in raw form, they often
    don't speak clearly, either."

3
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • "Data doesn't lie, but in raw form, it often
    doesn't speak clearly, either."
  • "Data don't lie, but in raw form, they often
    don't speak clearly, either."
  • (Choice A was the tag line on the webpage of a
    math software company!)

4
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The war profoundly affected her views.
  • B. The war profoundly effected her views.

5
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The war profoundly affected her views.
  • B. The war profoundly effected her views.

6
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The affects of the war were devastating.
  • B. The effects of the war were devastating.

7
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The affects of the war were devastating.
  • B. The effects of the war were devastating.

8
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The psychiatrist found the patients effect
    worrisome.
  • B. The psychiatrist found the patients affect
    worrisome.

9
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The psychiatrist found the patients effect
    worrisome.
  • B. The psychiatrist found the patients affect
    worrisome.

10
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. She resolved to affect a change in the
    healthcare system.
  • B. She resolved to effect a change in the
    healthcare system.

11
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. She resolved to affect a change in the
    healthcare system.
  • B. She resolved to effect a change in the
    healthcare system.

12
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The negotiators effected an agreement.
  • B. The negotiators affected an agreement.

13
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The negotiators effected an agreement.
  • B. The negotiators affected an agreement.

14
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. While she waited to be seen in the ER, her
    personal effects were stolen.
  • B. While she waited to be seen in the ER, her
    personal affects were stolen.

15
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. While she waited to be seen in the ER, her
    personal effects were stolen.
  • B. While she waited to be seen in the ER, her
    personal affects were stolen.

16
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The bacteria that I was trying to grow died.
  • B. The bacteria which I was trying to grow died.

17
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The bacteria that I was trying to grow died.
  • B. The bacteria which I was trying to grow died.

18
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. There is limited data.
  • B. There are limited data.

19
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. There is limited data.
  • B. There are limited data.

20
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The car, which I didnt particularly like,
    finally died.
  • B. The car, that I didnt particularly like,
    finally died.

21
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. The car, which I didnt particularly like,
    finally died.
  • B. The car, that I didnt particularly like,
    finally died.

22
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. He owed over 1000 to the doctor.
  • B. He owed more than 1000 to the doctor.

23
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. He owed over 1000 to the doctor.
  • B. He owed more than 1000 to the doctor.

24
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. Her dresses werent worth very much compared
    with her shoes.
  • B. Her dresses werent worth very much compared
    to her shoes.

25
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A. Her dresses werent worth very much compared
    with her shoes.
  • B. Her dresses werent worth very much compared
    to her shoes.

26
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • Many possibilities, of course! Here are my
    suggestions..

27
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • 1. The terms genetic predisposition and
    susceptibility are not entirely satisfactory
    terms because they are not independent concepts,
    but we use the terms to distinguish the extent of
    increased risk that arise from the inherited
    genetic alterations, calling very high individual
    risk, predisposition, and lower risk,
    susceptibility.

What were your rewrites?
28
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • My rewrite
  • We call inherited genetic alterations genetic
    predisposition if they confer a very high risk
    of disease and genetic susceptibility if they
    confer a lower risk.

29
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • 2. Certain etiologic factors might be more
    likely to lead to certain types of molecular
    changes, so defining tumors based on molecular
    changes might lead to formation of more
    etiologically homogeneous subsets of tumors than
    are apparent solely through histologic
    categories.

30
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • My rewrite
  • Tumors caused by a particular environmental or
    genetic factor undergo predictable molecular
    changes thus, classifying tumors by molecular
    rather than histologic changes may give more
    etiologically homogenous subsets.

31
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • 3. It is interesting to note that the new
    organism is green in color, round in shape, 5x10
    mm in size, and active with respect to motility.

32
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • My rewrite
  • The new organism is green, round, 5x10 mm long,
    and mobile.

33
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • 4.In view of the fact that solar energy is not
    yet fully developed at the present time, we will
    have to continue utilizing fossil fuels well into
    the next century.

34
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK ANSWERS
  • My rewrite
  • Because solar energy is underdeveloped, we will
    have to use fossil fuels into the next century.

35
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK
1. Adjacent to near   2. Assuming that
if   3. Big in size big   4. Clearly evident
evident   5. Demonstrate show   6. Doctorate
degree doctorate  
36
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK
7. Disseminate send out, distribute   8.
Endeavor (verb) try   9. Evaluate test   10.
Finalize finish   11. Facility office,
plant   12. Have an effect on affect
37
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 HOMEWORK
13. Has no lacks   14. New development
development   15. In order to to   16. It is
probable that probably   17. Terminate
end   18. Total number number   19. Utilize
use   20. With regard to about, regarding
38
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 WARM-UP
On a scrap of paper, revise Clinically and
pathologically, a focal neurologic deficit may be
considered a stroke if that deficit is thought to
be caused by a local disturbance affecting the
cerebral circulation. ? A stroke is a focal
neurologic deficit caused by a local disturbance
in cerebral circulation.
39
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Lecture Two News Writing
  • News writing
  • News-writing is the art of maximizing
    information and minimizing words its the
    barest-bones form of writing. The fundamentals
    of good writing can be learned by dissecting news
    articles.

40
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • When you write news, you are trying to inform
    your reader in the quickest, most interesting way
    possible.

41
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • What scientific writers can learn from
    journalists
  • That a clear, succinct, informative writing style
    is best and
  • That holding your readers attention matters!

42
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • What scientific writers can learn from
    journalists
  • That a clear, succinct, informative writing style
    is best and
  • That holding your readers attention matters!

43
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • That a clear, succinct, informative writing style
    is best and
  • We were introduced to many of these principles
    last time.

44
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Writing in news style
  • ? Just the facts, Maam.

45
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Some principles of news writing
  • Dont use a complicated word when a simple one
    will do.
  • Avoid jargon, clichés, and euphemisms.
  • Dont cram too much into one sentence.
  • Avoid redundancy and repetition.
  • Use active verbs and follow the usual
    conversational flow of words
  • Use facts, not opinion.
  • Be specific.

46
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Some principles of news writing
  • Dont use a complicated word when a simple one
    will do.
  • ?see last weeks lesson.
  • Did anyone count average number of letters per
    word in the newspaper?

47
This is a single sentence
  • Because septin filaments mark the site for
    cytokinesis, and because there is a specific cell
    cycle checkpoint that monitors the state of
    septin filament assembly, that we also discovered
    such knowledge may allow, ultimately, the
    development of therapeutic agents and clinically
    valuable strategies, on the one hand, to impose a
    permanent checkpoint arrest as a means of halting
    the growth of malignant cells in various cancers,
    including breast cancer, and, on the other, to
    overcome such checkpoints to re-activate
    proliferation of quiescent differentiated cells
    (for example, to stimulate multiplication of the
    residual beta-cells in patients suffering from
    Type 1 diabetes as a means to repopulate the
    pancreatic islets with insulin-producing cells).

48
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Some principles of news writing
  • Avoid jargon, clichés, and euphemisms.

49
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Avoid clichés like the plague

50
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Euphemisms
  • accept the resignation of
  • economically disadvantaged
  • limited success
  • pre-owned
  • underachiever
  • expire
  • collateral damage

51
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Collateral damage is one of those antiseptic
    sounding euphemisms that are sometimes more
    chilling than plain language, so hard do they
    labor to conceal their human meaning.--Hendrik
    Hertzberg in the New Yorker

52
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Some principles of news writing
  • Dont cram too much into one sentence.
  • Avoid redundancy and repetition.

53
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Did anyone count average words per sentence in
    the newspaper?
  • Average number of sentences per paragraph?
  • How do you think it compares to a scientific
    article?

54
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • In news writing, all needless words are
    eliminated.
  • For example, that and on are often
    eliminated
  • The meeting happened on Monday.
  • The meeting happened Monday.
  • They agreed that it was true.
  • They agreed it was true.

55
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Avoid using two or more words that mean the same
    thing (redundancy).
  • The hero begins to behave strangely and in odd
    ways following his tryst with a witch he meets
    secretly at midnight.
  • ?
  • The hero begins to behave strangely following
    his tryst with a witch he meets secretly at
    midnight.

56
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Do not repeat a word unless you need it again
    for clarity or emphasis (i.e., avoid repetition)
  • When he was a student, his favorite classes were
    the classes that gave no homework.
  • ?
  • When he was a student, his favorite classes were
    those that gave no homework.
  • When he was a student, his favorite classes gave
    no homework.

57
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Caveat Keep your sentences short but not too
    short that they are choppy.
  • Example (from Successful Science Writing)
  • Two canine cadaveers with orthopedic
    abnormalities were identified. The first dog had
    an unusual deformity. It was secondary to
    premature closure of the distal ulnar physis.
    The second dog had a hypertrophic nonunion of the
    femur. The radius and femur of both dogs were
    harvested. They were cleaned of soft tissue.
  • News writers use the dash, semicolon, and
    colon to merge choppy sentences together (well
    learn how craft deft sentences with these tools
    next time).

58
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Use active verbs and follow the usual
    conversational flow of words
  • Write with nouns and verbs

59
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Recall from last time
  • Subject verb object
  • Subject verb object
  • Subject verb X

60
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • KEY LESSON OF NEWS WRITING
  • The active voice vs. the passive voice.
  • Well see this again and again and again

61
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Recall from last time
  • In passive-voice sentences, the subject is acted
    upon the subject doesnt act.
  • Passive verb a form of the verb to be the
    past participle of the main verb
  • The main verb must be a transitive verb (that is,
    take an object).

62
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • In the passive voice,
  • The agent is AWOL Sin and Syntax
  • e.g. Mistakes were made.
  • ?Nobody is responsible.
  • vs. The President made mistakes

63
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • How do you recognize the passive voice?
  • Object-Verb-Subject
  • OR just
  • Object-Verb The agent is truly AWOL!

64
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Examples
  • Passive
  • My first visit to Boston will always be
    remembered by me.

Active I will always remember my first visit to
Boston.
65
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • To turn the passive voice back to the active
    voice
  • Ask "Who does what to whom?"

66
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Examples
  • Passive
  • The prognosis is largely determined by the
    extent of the injury.

Active The extent of injury determines the
prognosis.
67
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Examples
  • Passive
  • The behavior of the mutant mice was researched
    in many studies.

Active Many studies researched the behavior
of the mutant mice.
68
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • It was found that 11 does not equal 2.
  • The agent found that 11 does not equal 2.
  • It was concluded that the data were bogus.
  • The agent concluded that the data were bogus.
  • It is believed that the data had been falsified.
  • The agent believed that the data had been
    falsified.
  • A recommendation was made by the DSMB committee
    that the study be halted.
  • The DSMB committee recommended that the study be
    halted.
  • As is shown in Table 3
  • Table 3 shows
  •  

69
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • MYTH The passive voice is more objective.
  • Its not more objective, just more vague.
  • Activeclaiming responsibility

70
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Passive To study DNA repair mechanics, this
study on hamster cell DNA was carried out. More
objective? No! More confusing! ? Active To
study DNA repair mechanics, we carried out this
study on hamster cell DNA.
71
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Passive Major differences in the reaction times
of the two study subjects were found. ? Active We
found major differences in the reaction times of
the two study subjects.
72
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Passive Migraine was defined as a headache that
lasts for more than 1 hour. ? Active We defined
migraine as a headache that lasts for more than 1
hour.
73
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
The Active Voice is direct, vigorous, natural,
and informative.
74
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • A note about breaking the rules
  • Most writing rules are guidelines, not laws, and
    can be broken when the occasion calls for it.

75
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • For example, sometimes it is appropriate to use
    the passive voice.
  • When the action of the sentence is more important
    than who did it (e.g., materials and methods)
  • Three liters of fluid is filtered through
    porous glass beads.
  • To emphasize someone or something other than the
    agent that performed the action
  • The Obamas were honored at the banquet.
  • When the subject is unknown
  • The professor was assaulted in the hallways
    they do not know the perpetrator of this heinous
    crime.

76
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • STRONG VERBS carry the main idea of the sentence
    and sweep the reader along
  • Put your sentences on a to be diet
  • Is are was were be been am

77
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • There are many ways in which we can arrange the
    Petri dishes.
  • ?We can arrange the Petri dishes many ways. 
  • There was a long line of bacteria on the plate.
  • ?Bacteria lined the plate.

78
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Again, this doesnt mean never use to beit has
    a distinct purpose in the English language
  • Just use it purposefully and sparingly.
  • The logic was perverse.
  • ..and a few months later the Spanish Empire was
    gone.

79
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • And
  • Use facts, not opinion.
  • Be specific.
  • (applies equally well to scientific writing)

80
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Watch out for loaded words (which suggest an
    opinion)
  • savage, primitive, conniving, lazy,
    superstitious, wily, crafty, docile, backward,
    bitter, pompous, working class, communist,
    eco-freak, others?

81
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Be specific
  • Police arrested Willie Deeds, an elderly man,
    after he used a note to rob the bank earlier this
    year.
  • Police arrested Willie Deeds, 72, after he used a
    note to rob the bank in January.

82
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Take out a scrap of paper and
  • make this sentence more newsworthy
  • President Hennessy remarked that housing
    opportunities that are attractively priced for
    students are being researched by the university
    currently.

83
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • How about
  • President Hennessy said that the university is
    seeking affordable student housing.

84
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • What scientific writers should learn from
    journalists?
  • That a clear, succinct, informative writing style
    is best and
  • That holding your readers attention matters.

85
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • From The joys and pains of writing, Le Bon
    Journal
  • My professor friend told me that in his
    academic world, publish or perish is really
    true. He doesnt care if nobody reads it or
    understands it as long as its published.
  • Theres a hint of truth here, nest-ce pas?

86
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • News writers follow these tactics
  • 1. Tell a story
  • 2. Put things into context
  • e.g., numerical, historical
  • 3. Focus on people
  • 4. Ask Would my grandmother care?

87
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • These tactics might also improve scientific
    writing
  • Can we tell it more like a story?
  • Can we add a bit of history?
  • Can we emphasize the most important aspects up
    high and add details later?

88
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • An aside (broadening our horizons prep for the
    homework)
  • Some additional things youd learn if you were
    taking a news writing class

89
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • What makes stories newsworthy (developing news
    judgment)?
  • Impacts lots of people
  • Breaking news
  • Timeliness
  • Prominence
  • Proximity
  • Conflict
  • Trends (3 things make a trend)
  • Humor/Surprise

90
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Inverted pyramid style
  • Place the most important facts at the beginning
    and work "down" from there. The rest of the
    article explains and expands on the beginning.
  • A good approach is to assume that the story might
    be cut off at any point due to space limits. Does
    the story work if we only include the first two
    paragraphs? If not, re-arrange it so that it
    does.

91
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Inverted pyramid style
92
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Crucial Information
  • Recall The Five "W"s and the "H"
  • Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Any good news
    story provides answers to each of these
    questions.

93
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • News stories follows a basic formula (just as
    scientific journal articles do)
  • Headline
  • Lead
  • Nut Graf
  • First quote (3-6 paragraphs down)brings in the
    human element
  • More details and more quotes (inverted pyramid
    style)
  • Kicker

94
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Headline

95
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Lead

96
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • The lead (also spelled lede)
  • The first graf
  • Grabs the readers attention.
  • Imparts the heart of the matter (simple and
    focused).
  • Guidelines
  • 1-2 sentences.
  • Aim for lt35 words.
  • Use the main verb to carry the main news, and use
    action verbs.
  • Give complementary, but different information
    than the headline.
  • Provide some, but not necessarily all, of the 5
    Ws and 1 H.

97
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Beware of these no/nos
  • Leave out names that mean nothing to the reader
  • Never start with a quote unless its the
    President or the Pope speaking (or its as
    evocative as Craig Venter is an asshole.)
  • Never fool your reader (i.e., start with
    something that youre later going to retract or
    contradict).

98
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Example
  • From Hormone replacement therapy takes new body
    blow (SJ Merc News)
  • The latest knock against hormone replacement
    therapy barely reverberated because it broke just
    before the war in Iraq blasted everything else
    off the front page.
  • 25 words 1 sentence
  • What? Another knock for HRT
  • When? Cleverjust before the Iraq war started
  • Love the active verbs!

99
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Example
  • From Hard Times Find Replica of White House for
    Sale (Atlanta Journal)
  • The replica of George W. Bushs desk still sits
    in the Oval Office beneath the Iranian and
    American flags. The seal of the president of the
    United States still adorns the floor mats across
    the hall from the zebra-skin rug. And the porch
    overlooking the 75-car parking lot is still
    called the Truman Balcony.
  • 3 sentences (somewhat long for a lede).
  • Intriguing/surprising
  • Draws you in

100
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Nut Graf

101
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • The nut graf.
  • Shortly after the lead paragraph, the so-called
    nut graf flushes out the story the 5 Ws and
    the H.
  • Occasionally, the nut graf is hiddencontained
    within the lead or strewn throughout several
    paragraphs. But usually, its identifiable.

102
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Nut graf example
  • From Hormone replacement therapy takes new body
    blow
  • Graf 3 The latest results to be gleaned from the
    Womens Health Initiative study, which will be
    published in the May 8 issue of the New England
    Journal of Medicine, focused on postmenopausal
    women who took hormones even though they didnt
    have severe symptoms. Overall, they reported no
    difference in quality of life from those who took
    placebos. They didnt feel sexier, their
    memories were no better and they didnt
    experience more mental clarity.

103
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • From Hard Times Find Replica of White House for
    Sale
  • Graf 3 For the last seven years, almost as long
    as President Bush has been in Washington, Mr.
    Milani, an Iranian-American home developer, has
    lived in a scaled-down version of the
    presidential mansion in Atlanta. A private Xanadu
    for Mr. Milani, a headache for neighbors and a
    destination for camera-wielding gawkers, the
    16,500-square-foot home has become a kooky symbol
    of this boom-boom citys ever-growing residential
    skyline.
  • But now, like the current occupant of the real
    White House, Mr. Milani is planning to leave his
    home.

104
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Quotes (unfortunately, not a part of most
    scientific writing)
  • The fun part of news writing! The interview
    doesnt involve any writing on your partjust
    eliciting good quotes and strategic placement.
  • Quotes?
  • Give a human dimension to the story
  • Provide evidence
  • Provide opinion
  • Provide color and flavor
  • Flush out the main idea
  • Move the story along
  • Make the story more readable

105
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Example, first quote
  • HRT takes new body blow
  • 5th graf Women think as they get menopause,
    theyll get old, ugly, useless, and crazy, Grady
    told me on the phone. They think if they take
    hormones, itll all be OK. Then they attribute
    all the good feelings they have to hormone
    therapy.

106
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Examples, first quote
  • Hard Times Find Replica of White House for
    Sale
  • 5th graf I still do not want to sell, he said.
    But I will.

107
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Attribution
  • Blah, blah, blah, blah, Professor Smith said.
  • NOT Blah, blah, blah, blah, said Professor
    Smith.
  • SV!
  • Unless Blah, blah, blah, blah, said Professor
    Smith, the really boring professor that we all
    had to take English from (long attributionsounds
    awkward to say Prof. Smith, the really boring
    professor that we all had to take English from,
    said!).

108
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Attribution
  • Prefer said to most other possibilities, such
    as noted and remarked, which have particular
    connotations
  • Noted implies that whatever the persons
    statement was fact.

109
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • The kicker!
  • The ending.
  • Leaves the reader feeling satisfied.
  • Often circles back to the lead.
  • A quote is often very effective.

110
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Kicker
  • HRT takes new body blow
  • That doesnt mean that every woman who feels
    more vital after taking hormones should conclude
    its all in her head. But if youre only as
    young as you feel, theres a good chance that has
    nothing to do with the pill.

111
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
Kicker
  • Hard Times Find Replica of White House for
    Sale
  • When asked where he will live next, Mr. Milani
    said he did not know. But he proposed,
    half-seriously, I may build the Congress
    building across the street.

112
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Easy to remember guide for structuring a news
    story (the 5 Ss)
  • So come on in.
  • So what?
  • So, so
  • So, therefore.
  • So long.

113
Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • And finally
  • This weeks top 5 countdown

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • 1. Fewer vs. less
  • Fewer goes with a countable number
  • Less goes with a mass quantity
  • Im trying to eat fewer calories.
  • Im trying to eat fewer grams of fat.
  • BUT
  • Im trying to eat less fat.
  • ?Use less if theres no S

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • She and I OR She and me?
  • Use XX and I for the subject of the sentence
    (nominative case)
  • You and I went to the park.
  • But use XX and me for the object of a verb or
    preposition (objective case)
  • Just between you and me, I think that this
    professor is boring.
  • Trick If youd use him or her instead of
    he or she ? then use me instead of I.

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • 3. Who vs. whom
  • Same idea? who is the subject and whom is the
    object
  • Again, if youd use him or her, use whom.
  • Who is it?
  • She called to Beth, who (she believed) was
    nearby.
  • To whom did you mean to call?
  • The message was meant for whom?

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • 3. Who vs. whom
  • Then hell buy a plane ticket to Baghdad, to
    visit his mother and his sisters and his
    eighteen-year-old girlfriend, whom he has never
    seen, except in the picture that his mother sent
    when she selected the girl for him.
  • he has never seen her.
  • ? he has never seen whom.

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • Its vs. its
  • Its is the contraction of it is.
  • Its true.
  • Its is possessive.
  • The car stopped working after its battery died.
  • ? If you can substitute it is or tisuse its.
  • Tis true.

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Scientific Writing, HRP 214
  • 5. As vs. like
  • Use as to introduce clauses (compare action)
  • We spent the evening as (we did) in the old
    days.
  • We wrote down every step, as good scientists
    should.
  • Use like (sparinglymore formal to use similar
    to) to compare nouns and pronouns
  • OK Her cat is like a dog.
  • More formal Her cat is similar to a dog.
  • BUT
  • Her cat acts as a dog would.
  • Note Her cat acts similar to a dog does not
    work. Therefore, dont use like!

120
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 A useful note
  • As Stanford students, you have online access to
    the archives of New Yorker, NY Times, Boston
    Globe, and many others through Lexis-Nexis
  • http//www-sul.stanford.edu/? ejournals

121
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 Homework
  • Assignments for next time
  • Read
  • Read chapters 5-8 of Sin and Syntax (pp. 88-128)
  • News Article assignment

122
Scientific Writing, HRP 214 Preview to next time
  • For next time
  • We begin our systematic review of the basics of
    writing.
  • Words? sentences? paragraphs
  • punctuation and parallelism
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